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Environmental and Sustainability Book Reviews 2022

Since returning home from my year of service with AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps I was able to go to one of my favorite stores, Half Priced Books. I went in knowing some of the books that I wanted to buy but also let myself shop around for other books that peaked my interest. If you have been following my blog for sometime you may know that I have a degree in environmental studies and love reading about how to live sustainably, environmental practices, and climate change. This is the first year I am dedicating a full blog post to the environmental and eco books I read in a year. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.

I went in knowing I was going to buy the used copy of Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan. A friend of mine who runs a business on sustainable fashion check her out Hart Collective. I reached out to her to see if she had any books, podcasts, or documentaries that she recommended I watch to learn more about sustainable fashion. She recommend Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan. I was so excited to get a copy of this book that I started reading it as soon as I got home. Because I have been living a sustainable live for over 4 years now and already limited the new clothing I was buying, what I wanted to achieve from this guide was to discover the fabrics, dyes, and brands that are sustainable and I would consider buying new from. I read this book at the perfect time as I am starting a new job and in search of business casual clothing to wear to the office. I used sticky page flags to mark my favorite resources in this book and have continued to refer back to them when shopping. The material in this book is easily digestible and can be easily applied when shopping. I found it very beneficial to read and think everyone can and should read and apply these methods. I loved the use of the charts to easily display information, such a smart choice. The only thing I struggled with in this book was picturing the outfits that Greta was describing. I am a visual thinker and learner and found some of the descriptions poor and not easily pictured. Other than that I have no other complaints about the book. I recommend this book to all shoppers and sustainable minds. I have applied the steps in both my life and helping my sister to shop and clean out her closet. 

While shopping around at Half Priced Books I also found a used copy of Cradle to Cradle and picked it up. This is a book that has been on my to read list and I just never got around to reading/picking up a copy until it was right there in front of me. William McDonough and Michael Braungart come from two different professional and academic backgrounds, one an architect and the other a chemist. Together they wrote this on how industries can incorporate a 'cradle to cradle' manufacturing model instead of the current and popular 'cradle to grave' model. The book breaks down successful and unsuccessful attempts industries and companies have taken to incorporate this model. Another focus of the book is that sustainability is so much more than 'reduce, recuse and recycle'. The book beings with a breakdown of the evolution of industries and how they came to be what they are today. The book then goes into stories of solutions tried by different industries and companies to be more sustainable. Then the book moves into practices and models for how industries and companies can create a more sustainable manufacturing model, building, and business model. Includes is a number of examples in which the authors were involved into projects relating to the topics of sustainable design. Overall this book is very informative and comprehensive in industries and sustainable industry models. Even for more one with a bachelor of science in environmental studies, having taken sustainable architecture classes, and very well informed on sustainable practices, some of it was hard to understand do to its use of technical words and descriptions. To make this as much of a learning experience as possible I took the time to research what I didn't know or what I was confused on. I would say that reading this book requires a lot of concentration because it is very technical is its writing style and the content and material is written by professionals. At times it did feel more like a school textbook, there is nothing wrong with that but I am going to be transparent and say that. This is by no means a light read. With all that said I have recommended this book to a friend who is getting her masters in architecture with a focus in sustainable design. I would only recommend this book to those specifically looking for information and history heavy reading on sustainability. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get into architecture, engineering, business, and sustainability. 

At yet another Half Priced Books trip I was browsing the nature section and stumbled across a copy of Under the Sky We Make by: How to Be Human in a Warming World by Kimberly Nicholas PHD. This is an environmental book that I had never heard of. No one has every recommended this book to me nor have I seen it posted on any of the environmental social media pages that I follow. I read the back of the book and decided to buy a copy. I was excited to read this book because from what I had read this book was going to include both science and personal stories relating to climate change and why us humans are responsible for the destruction and making a change. I had no exceptions as I had never even heard of this book before I picked it up. I loved from the beginning that Kimberly shared her personal experiences with nature and the environment and why protecting and preserving them are so important to her. This is something I learned to do when getting my undergraduate degree in environmental studies. The layout of the book and how she chose to share all the bits and pieces of information is exactly how I wanted it to be. It had all the informational scientific facts with the personal stories of destruction and lost due to climate change. Kimberly's writing fluidly moved from personal stories to scientific facts. The science was spelled out so that anyone no matter their degree or level of knowledge could easily understand the significance of what she is sharing. Two things that bothered me about her opinion on what should and should not be focused on when it comes to reducing carbon usage is her reducing the importance of waste produced by humans. She made it seem like this is not a big issue when it is. I personally believe that any little things that you can do over time leads to a big difference and recycling and waste diversion should not be minimized as a method of cleaning up the environment. The second complaint that I have is she really only focused on the big picture things that people can do to reduce carbon usage. For some people these things are not always possible do to logistics and other methods that might have less impact should still have been mentioned as they do make a difference. Overall I really loved this book and plan to pass it on to others in my life.  

My plan for 2023 is to read more environmental and climate change books so I can a bigger list at the end of the year. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments. To see what else I have read this year click the links below!

Check out my book reviews for 2022!!

Check out my book reviews for 2021!!

Check out my book reviews for 2020!!

Check out my book reviews for 2019!!


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